The Castle Town
The historical town of Basgo is situated on the banks of mighty Indus River in Ladkakh. The town is known for its cultural and political importance in the history of Ladakh. The famous castle of Basgo known as Basgo Rabtan Lhartsekhar is situated there on a clay hill.
It is will situated on the Srinagar to Leh highway. The evening at Basgo looks amazingly stunning. Sunset near the riverside colors the citadel in dazzling golden & one can be pleased with an astonishing sight when the sun’s low light falls on the ruins of the mud-brick citadel. It is well-known for its Gompas (Buddhist fortifications of Learning, Lineage and Sadhna) such a Basgo Monastery and historical shell.
Frequent attacks by the aggressive states of Muslim of the Central Asia on Ladakh are the reason for the deteriorating and partial change of the Ladakh region. Then Ladakh was separated into two parts, the lower Ladakh kinged by the ruler Takpabum from Temisgam and Basgo, and the upper Ladakh ruled by the ruler Takbumde from Shey and Leh. Bhagan, who was a former King of Basgo, brought back together Ladakh by defeating the Leh’s King. The King took on the last name Namgyal which means triumphant and set up a new kingdom which continued to exist till date. The ruler Tashi Namgyal (1555-1575) effectively managed to keep away most of the Central Asian attackers and established a Royal citadel on the crest of the Namgyal Peak.
The fortress and the Monastery were set up in the year 1680 and is a mud structure. The fortress is detoriating but the monastery is now re-established.
The Basgo Monastery is an amazing and alluring piece of architecture. The architecture is of Tibetan pattern. The compound of the Basgo Monastery consists of three temples and the Basgo citadel. These were established by the King Gragspabum and his successors from Tibet in the 16th and 17th centuries although some of the chroniclers quarrel that the citadel existed much before.
What is absent in the midst of the remains of the citadel is a giant lower wall with the ruins of protection for animals and grand towers which are broken. The three temples of mud-brick situated in the clashed mud walls of the citadel are devoted to Maitreya Buddha who is the 5th embodiment of Sakyamuni, also usually is recognized as ‘The Future Buddha’. These buildings appear very sober from the outer but prosperous and vibrant murals decorate the inside walls showcasing beautiful ancient miniatures from Buddha’s life, some illustrating Sakyamuni, Padmasambhava and other Gods of the Buddhists in thoughtful moods.
The biggest of all these temples is the Chamba Lhakhan which was set up on a hilltop and can only be accessed via a set of vertical stairs. One can get the excellent and wonderful views of the village of Basgo and the whole ruin compound from here. The temple grasps a 14 meters high, gilded idol of Maitreya Buddha. A number of people considered that the archaic citadel was not constructed by the King of Tibet but by The Jamyang Namgyal who was his son. This two-storied tall golden copper-gilded statue was constructed by Singge in his father’s memory. This temple is also a house to a number of the most astonishing celestial paintings.
The second temple which is called Serzing Lhakhang is lower downhill and is ancient than the first temple. This temple is very dim inside and with another idol of Buddha; cabinets consisting of sacred books with some scripts are there in this room which are written in copper, silver and gold letters.
The smallest and third temple which is called Chan Chung is at the foot of the hill and is a perfect place for clicking pictures of the nearby villages and fields. The main colors used inside this temple are deep reds and blues which make it very dim inside. The temple also includes a large idol of Buddha edged on the walls by murals of guardian gods.
Basgo Monastery is only around 40 kms away from Leh. Taxis and cabs are also available from Leh to reach Basgo. Leh has good communications by road with Srinagar and Manali. Basgo can be reached from Leh. But these roads are quite not easy to move. Frequent landslides usually occur here. Jammu is the closest railway station to the Basgo nearly 734 kms away. Passing all the way through Shimla, from Manali, tourists can take the buses or hire private cabs to get to the town of Leh, from where anyone can effortlessly reach Basgo Monastery.